Reflections on Apraxia

My daughter Erica was diagnosed with verbal apraxia in 2009. Since then she has been going for speech therapy weekly and then monthly. We were at her regular monthly session a few weeks ago when I was taken back by something her speech therapist, something that I was so amazed to hear it took a little while to actually sink in and an extra email to confirm that I heard it correctly.

“Erica may not need private therapy.”

It is still taking time to sink in that she could very well be done seeing a private speech therapist. She might not be done speech therapy, but seeing the school speech therapist might be enough to help correct the last few things. Thinking back on all these years of speech therapy and how hard she has worked it seems almost impossible that she is so close to having all of her sounds.

As a parent you try to remember those significant moments in your child’s life, like their first word, their first day of preschool, all the firsts in their life and if you are very lucky you might even catch some of them on camera or video.

Of the things I remember so clearly with my daughter are her first words and there were so many first words. Unlike a child who just picks up speech, every sound was a new first. Hearing her for the first time at one of her early speech therapy sessions say her first word. Practicing over and over again to surprise Mom on Mother’s Day by saying “I love you Mom”, hearing her say her name for the first time. Her finding her “Quack” at a pre-k meeting and telling me about the story the teacher read them. There were so many first sounds, so many first words.

I know that my daughter is one of the lucky ones. She got started with speech therapy at an early age and was diagnosed with apraxia early. We still practice the few sounds she needs to improve but it looks like the majority of the hard work is to learn to talk is behind her.

I wanted to post a couple of videos of her so you can see her progress over the years. I am extremely thankful for all the help she has gotten and how hard she has worked to learn so much. If she can conquer this she will be able to do anything in her life.

Video taken in 2010 just after she started to learn how to say her first name.

Video taken in 2013. Lots of improvement over the years.

Congratulations sweet heart you did it!

Apraxia Progress

It has been several years since my daughter was diagnosed with apraxia. At one point we never knew if she would be about to talk but with many hours of hard work and hours and hours of Professional speech therapy she has turned a new corner in her life with apraxia. For several years we have gone for weekly speech therapy. It started with regular visits to Wascana rehabilitation centre here in Regina to having a private speech therapist that quit on us and attendance at the Regina communication preschool. While we had some rough times we eventually found a private speech therapist that worked well for her and combined with some changes at the communication preschool has now lead us to this new turning point.

It is with great joy that last week was our last weekly visit to our private speech therapist! My daughter has reached the point where we are dropping down to only one visit to our private speech therapist per month. Our private speech therapist could not see a reason for my daughter to continue to come once per week.

My daughters speech still needs some work, her S’s are slushy and her CH and J are not always perfect but with regular reminders she is able to do the sounds correctly. Thankfully we are able to work her speech work in with her daily reading from school. Her reading is coming along well and in many ways her speech therapy has helped her excel at her spelling.

I hope that the many others that come here looking for help and answers to help their children have as much success as my daughter.

Communication School Finished

Today is the last day, after three school years, of driving my daughter across town to take part in a special communication classroom. She started there August 27, 2009. Normally I probably would not remember that so well, but I actually blogged about it. It has been a long three years. While I would never have let her take the school bus across town I am glad that her time at the communication classroom is over and our driving across town is done.

If you don’t remember my daughter has apraxia. It is often called different things, developmental childhood apraxia, verbal apraxia and apraxia of speech. Does not really matter what you call it though the reality is the same. She has to be taught how to talk, not like most kids who just pick it up naturally.

Looking back on the three years she has made some tremendous growth in her speech. While she still has several sounds that she is working on she has come along way from that first meeting we had with the school speech therapist who told us she was on the 2nd percentile of speech for her age. That was not a particularly encouraging moment for us and looking back on it was the moment that made us wonder if we had made the right decision to put her into the school communication classroom. While that first year was a tough one, with not having a very supportive school speech therapist and a private speech therapist that eventually quit on us (that is another story) things have improved. The school speech therapist retired and the new speech therapist has been supportive and helpful.

I have to say I am glad that I will no longer have to drive my daughter across town. While I would not have let her take the school bus everyday for the last three years, which would have meant close to 2 hours on the bus a day for her, it will be a nice change to have her full days at her local school with no need to drive everyday. Until fall though we have one more summer of fun at the lake and I find myself looking forward to time together playing at the cabin.